"Penn For Peds"

NYC’s Penn Station is the busiest transit hub in the country, handling more people a day than the three NYC-area airports combined – over 1,000 every 90 seconds. New projects in West Midtown, including the ARC tunnel, the 34th Street Transitway, Moynihan Station, and Hudson Yards, all promise to bring more people to the neighborhood. Even so, the streetscape surrounding the station remains inhospitable to pedestrians.

The prioritization of cars reaches its most absurd on 32nd Street between Seventh and Sixth Avenues. This stretch of 32nd Street is one of the heaviest traveled areas around Penn Station, since it leads directly to the Seventh Avenue entrance of Penn Station and links it to the Herald Square subway and PATH stations on Sixth Avenue. Its narrow sidewalks are made narrower by scaffolding and street vendors, and can’t handle the commuters’ parade which unfolds every weekday morning and afternoon. From 1995 to 2005, the small block and a half of 32nd saw 98 pedestrian and cyclists injuries due to collision with motor vehicles.

In response, the Tri-State Campaign launched the "Penn for Peds" campaign in 2008, which aims at improving the inadequate pedestrian and bicycling conditions around NYC's Penn Station. The campaign calls for the closure of 32nd Street to non-delivery motor vehicles, pedestrian improvements to 8th and 7th Avenues and signal timing improvements and widened sidewalks area-wide.

The closure of 32nd Street between 7th Ave. and Greeley Square would create a seamless pedestrian connection from Penn to points east and north via the NYC DOT's newly pedestrianized Herald Square, Broadway and Times Square. Those improvements support the projected safety gains of making 32nd Street a pedestrian way. Since the "Broadway Boulevard" projects took effect, there has been a 35% reduction in pedestrian injuries project-wide, 53% in Herald Square, and a 63% reduction in motorist and passenger injuries. At the same time pedestrian volumes have increased by 6% in Herald Square, as high as 33% at peak hours.

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